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My first post, to a) say a big thanks to all others who post so we can learn and b) to give back by showing how I built the dining table and chairs in the garage in case its useful for someone else. Also a thanks to other sites that gave me information of how to do what was required (fine woodworking, you tube upholstery lessons etc). The internet is a wonderful thing.
Oh yes c) - show off a bit because I am chuffed that I could do the chairs never having done chairs before.
I'm an 80/20 person (20 effort, 80 result). So I bought a few machine tools second hand (arms and shoulders getting on a bit sore for too much in the way of hand tools), cheap power tools, made a cyclone and dust collection system for essentially nothing, paid for the wood and then spent 6 months doing it in my spare time.
I've made a few things over the years mostly simple cabinets, bedside drawers, bed head, tallboy, entertainment centre and the like but nothing as complex as chairs especially bits with funny angles and curves in them.
The dining suite is almost finished now - just a couple more coats on the table top and finish coats on two of the chairs. We had to commission it for Christmas dinner or else! I have to shift the table back to the garage to finish - heavy dude!!
Marri is not really my cup of tea (prefer a nice rich Jarah) but "Her Indoors" likes it and the relatives seemed to like it. Even the mother in law said she was impressed and she does not impress easily (her words!)
Over the next few days I'll post on how I did the work. But if you have any questions feel free to ask. I have taken pics along the way in preparation for this post and it might be a bit long for some so here goes.
We moved house (with no garden or shed). Then Her Indoors wants a new dining suite. So we look at the shops - she wants a slab table with tall narrow back chairs, leather seats. $10K at the time. So I says now way - I'll make it instead. Never made chairs before especially complex ones.
So the risk was high and I thought lets see if I can make a cheap prototype if that works then maybe I'll buy some Marri then. If all else fails we could buy the chairs $500 each and I'll make just the table to save a bit.
So how do you make a chair? I had no idea at this stage.
So for a few weeks looked over the internet and found videos of people making chairs of a similar design (fine woodworking and upholstery on youtube). In particular the use of floating tennons took my fancy. After some weeks of watching and reading I decided to make a pine prototype. Here is a pic or two.
Those of you here who are experts will pick up there are a few techniques to get right in making a chair like this. Next post how was it made.
So I figured the following was involved to make the chairs (what I got)
A plan / drawing (drew one up after looking at various plans and designs)
A few sticks of pine from Bunnies
Router and assorted jigs for the joints - floating tennons, some at an angle (black and decker 700w that I have had forever)
Table router for curved back legs (GMC 1500w with micro adjust and variable speed - ebay $80 plus post - made a table based on my B&W workmate)
Band saw for curved back legs (new Carba-tec 10inch $299)
Bandsaw for curved back slats (new Carba-tec 10inch $299)
Mitre saw for cutting lots of bits to size (Ozito 10inch sliding mitre saw Bunnies demo for $70 (new was $170)
A technique for making the curved back slats
Dust collection system for bandsaw and router (made this myself for essentially nothing)
Glue (sellers white stuff)
Upholstery foam and cheap cover material (clark rubber - highest density foam, spotlight for the white fluffy stuff and a piece of blue cloth for $2, already had a small B&D hand stapler)
No finish for the prototype but intending to use Wipe on Poly for the end product (WOP).
Some of you may be horrified at the cheap and nasty nature of the tools but remember this is a one off job and the 80/20 rule applies and I have the time to deal with the less than ideal nature of some of the tools. The band saw was the big investment but necessary for the critical curvy bits and slats.
Last edited by skywarka; 27th Jan 2012 at 03:21 AM.
Excellent result. Looking forward to the pics of the project.
I absolutely love it, all of my boxes for timber, design and workmanship are well and truly ticked.
Your table and chairs are brilliant
Making a chair is up the top of my bucket list of things to make. I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest of the pics.
Nice job, love to see more photos.
Very well done.
Good effort 20/80.
Only other like minded people understand the nature of what it means to make something and your description brings this into light.
Hi Wood fans Tony's back on the air.
Had to go and see the fireworks as we always do. A first this year we got wet and those on the south Perth side might have good photos with fireworks and lightning - back on topic
So having moved into a house with no shed I didn't want to put too much dust onto the other car and through the garage so needed a dust collection system.
Something to suck and something to pull off most of the stuff before the sucker. Being an engineer I've known about cyclones since Uni'. Obviously we can get ones from supplier these days for the right price.
I found a 2kw vac on the street at "bring out your dead time" and then built a cyclone out of old plant pots plastic cups and glue and bits and pieces. The fishing bucket I already had. I knew this might work as I had seen several similar home made versions on the 'net. The first prototype was OK but when I fixed up the vac (silastic - vac had a hole in it thats why it was on the street) the plant pot cyclone kept getting sucked in.
So I spent $10 on a hard plastic middle sized witches hat from Bunnies (not the squishy ones you see from the council etc). Worked like a charm. So well that the I only went through 3 vac bags for the project and most of that was when sanding. I was lucky with the vac as it also had washable before motor filters. Here are the pics.
Oh yes the hose - again off the street at dead time. Pick the right hose - swimming pool stuff not water drainage stuff. One has a spiral thread the other is parallel rings. The parallel hose sets up a standing wave or whatever so when the vac goes on it makes a noise like a siren. Really loud in fact - scared the xxx out of me when I hit the vac switch. So swimming pool hose works well. Proper vac hose costs too much .
Firstly thanks for all your kind words, hopefully my descriptions and tips will be of use.
The chairs had three tricky bits as far as I could see, curved back slats at 90x10mm say 650-700 long.
The tall 1050mm curved back legs
The floating tenon joints some at an angle.
So the legs - needed a template - I would be making 16 of these for 8 chairs. Drew one up on a piece of 6mm ply - a bit more rugged than mdf. (If I was to do it again, I might use thicker ply as the template was getting a bit tired after 16 legs).
How do you draw a meter long set of double curves - (as Egg Shen says in film Big trouble from little China - "Its not easy"). I marked the key points first from the plan and then used 3mm square mdf strips to follow the points / curve and pinned them in place. The thin strips made a nice curve(s). I then drew along the thin strips onto the ply.
This I then cut roughly to the line (couple mil' outside) on the bandsaw. I then used rough files and coarse sandpaper to get the template to the lines drawn.
The attached pics show the template on a main leg piece of Marri later in the project and then on the band saw ready to cut. Also a leg later in the project just off the router.
I attached the template to the leg wood (1100x110x30mm) with that really sticky double sided carpet tape - really useful in the wood shop as a temporary thin clamp that doesn't get in the way.
So now I had a leg template but I needed to get 16 all the same (+ - a bit of a mil). Apparently a router table was the go. Never used one of these before let alone make one - and reading as I had done they can be hazardous. I was also thinking (at this stage) that I might also use the router table as a jointer later for the rough Marri I might buy.
I made the router table out of a piece of white gloss laminate kitchen bench cut off ( someone gave me for nothing on Gumtree). The fence was again offcuts I scrounged for nothing locally.
The router was attached to the bottom (the GMC micro adjust unit mentioned earlier) after routing away the underside of the bench down to 8mm for the size of the router base. I put this on my B&D workmate and used some cross 15x20mm cross strips to make the top attach to the bench top.
The previous post has a pic of it.
Then all I had to do was route the pine leg to the template. Now this was a little scary never having done this before. A high speed bit sticking up through the table passing a meter long curvy bit of wood.
I cannot stress enough - be careful with this. Use push devices - I used two of those rubber flat base yellow handle things carba-tec sells (yes I actually bought them - can't spend too much on safety). I also used proper safety goggles not just glasses. Also bought a proper emergency stop switch to power the router through and put this at my standing location on the edge of the router top - essential.
I found that my perspex chip over bit shield fogged up with dust a lot (particularly the Marri) and restricted my view. The dust collection was fine but my lying around perspex was probably not anti-static.
So table routing was a risk but approached carefully it went OK. I allowed a bit say 25-50mm on each end of the leg oversize so any rough lead in and out issues could be cut off.
Oh yes the cheap and nasty router. Well remembering that all this was a prototype I bought the cheapest router I could find that had the features required - 1500w+,variable speed and micro up and down adjust I think top of range GMC - after they had gone bust from ebay. I wasn't going to spend $300+ on a Triton or Makita for something that I might not be able to do repeatedly.
So how did it go. Well there was a bit of run out in the bearings - so some vibration at low speeds. Hand held you wouldn't have noticed but bolted to a table you sure do.
It was just noisier than it should have been but lasted the project fine and is still going OK.
So I could make the back legs. I also now had parts for the mould / press for the back slats as they should be a similar curve to the legs- Next post tomorrow I think.
Beautiful work. Love the wood.
Visit my website at www.myWoodwork.com.au
Great work and give you credit in making the chairs . I make a dining table last year but there was no way I was going to make the chairs cause of all the fiddleyness. So we looked around and liked the Jarmal chair and then shopped around for the best price - 6 chairs $2100.
Skywarka, please keep putting posts up. I bet I'm not alone in saying I love your workmanship and design, I love your inginuity and I love the way you write. It makes entertaining and informative reading.
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